Media’s Blurry Lines Blend Celebrities and Politicians


Boning Zhang

Celebrities have been involved in politics and campaigning for years, inter- twining the two worlds, but recently, the media has stuck its nose into the personal lives of our leaders.
Politicians are now being judged not only for their policies, but also for factors such as childhood decisions and sexual affairs. For example, in the 2012 presidential election, “dirt” was collected on the candidates from their adolescent years to influence voters’ emotional appeal. During high school, former presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his friends held down a classmate and forcibly cut off his hair that they deemed too long. Although a form of assault, teenage mistakes do not always accurately indicate if a person is to be a good president.
President Barack Obama was also a victim of smear campaigns, with opponents attempting to use his teen- age pot-smoking years with the intention of harming his reputation.
Former president Bill Clinton’s adultery transformed his life into even more celebrity. After Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, he was indicted for impeachment, while his action was not illegal nor an abuse of government funds. His indictment proves celebrity power does not only control the average citizen, but even makes its way into Congress. He was found innocent by
the Senate.His approval ratings jumped by 10 percent, according to CNN, indicating that voters can be swayed very easily by media scandals. The media promotes through the expansive coverage of personal stories and scandals of lawmakers that votes should depend on whether he or she was a star athlete or was a small-time crook.And while these factors can indicate what type of person the politician truly is rather than who he or she says, they are not enough on which to base an election. Presidents and senators are not supposed to be our friends with whom we want to go bowling, but they are meant to be the smart and decisive trailblazers who lead us to a better future. While people may look up to their politicians more if they are viewed as celebrities, stars tend to sometimes have unreasonable power over the public. Many Americans are sheep to actors and musicians, often without logically looking at facts; they can be viewed as all-knowing gods.To “celebritize” politicians, who already have similar power would be to grant them star-powered mind-control over millions more. In the United States, our leaders should serve the people, while the people should not be hypnotized by the leaders. Just because everyone gets a vote does not mean that vote was thought-through.